Tim Burgan wrote: > What are the pros and cons of using Linux as my 'host' OS? If you start using Linux you won't leave it. I'm addicted to Linux and can't live without it because it turns my daily tasks a breeze. A few reasons why I use it as a development platform: 1 - Easily reproduce the ambient your application will run: You can configure the server the way you want or even have multiple config files (i.e. for apache or php) and use them as needed to reproduce several server configurations. 2 - Plenty of "ready to use" programs to help your procuctivity: You have plenty of tools to help you like txt2tags, sort, grep, rename, replace, awk, etc. You can use them as needed. Cut & paste mouse clicks, clipboard history (to reuse collected copies of text), multiple desktops and terminals (you can run many applications at the same time without having your workspace full enough to make Alt-Tab a pain), save session when logging out (save running applications, documents opened, position in desktops and have it all opened next time you login), etc. 3 - Integrated version control system: Use vim or emacs with CVS to "automagically" record changes in your documents. Later you can merge, remove or add changes. 4 - Customizable text editors: Configure vim or emacs to replace special markup as you type: (The caracter $ below is where your cursor will be) i.e type h1<TAB> and will become <h1>$</h1> type form<TAB> and will become: <form action="$" method="post" enctype="application/x-www-form-urlencoded"> </form> In other words: configure whatever you want, use regexp to replace or search for text, etc. 5 - Lots of free graphical applications to choose from: Use Quanta Plus with PHP debugger, Kompare/vimdiff to list differences between files, Cervisia (front end to CVS), Amaya, Mozilla composer, OpenOffice HTML editor, Gimp (makes Photoshop looks like a toy), import (part of the ImageMagick package that makes quick sreen capture and editing very easy jobs), etc. 6 - Take advantage of your time: Install, compile, unistall, load/unload modules, switch network configurations, enable/disable services and devices, switch http servers, mail servers, etc... all without having to reboot. 7 - Test your work in several browsers (usability, validation, etc): View your pages in text only browsers (links, elinks, lynx, w3m) to test if they are consistent, accessible. Konqueror, Galeon, Firebird, Opera, Netscape, Mozilla, Nautilus, Dillo, Encompas, etc. Validate your files using buit-in validator in Mozilla, Quanta Plus. 8 - Use it because is the most complete solution out of a box: Install Linux using the full install option and you'll get a web server, mail and news server, database server, CVS server, network server, ftp and ssh server, a complete office suit, tools to work with several programming languages, professional image manipulation software (Gimp, ImageMagick, etc), screen capture programs, icon editors, vector graphics program, project management software, PIM, contact management, PHP, Perl, Python, MySQL, Postgres, and a lot more. I've been using Linux since 1996 and can't remember having to reboot due to application errors or memory overflow. Most of Linux tools are open source and free, including for commercial use, and thousands of them are already included in the main distributions (Red Hat, SuSe, Slack, Debian, Mandrake, etc). The system is stable, reliable and in most situations I don't even have to fire a graphical interface to work. Every single day I learn something new to improve my productivity. Well, I could spend the day writing but the only way to know is to try Linux yourself. HTH, Rodrigo Fonseca.